2010: One life changed, one lesson for me.

The one event that defined the year for me happened on January 12th.  The 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti sent me scrambling for months as we assessed, planned, reacted to changing situations and literally saved thousands from hunger and dangerous situations.

I heard about the quake just a few minutes after it happened.  I alerted my team and we were off and running.  I know God used your gifts and prayers during those days, as I witnessed so many miracles.  From chilling stories of people being pulled from the rubble to shipments of medicines being passed through customs like never before, God protected His people in Haiti.

One moment that is etched into my mind permanently is the day I met a boy named Carlandy.  Pastor Charles, from one of the churches in Port-Au-Prince (PAP), took me to meet he and his mother, but he didn’t warn me that my heart would be broken.

It was at the end of a long hot Tuesday in PAP.  My team and I had met hundreds of people receiving our food distributions.  I wanted to go back to where we were staying and record our day in my journal, but Pastor Charles had one more family he wanted me to meet; a woman, Sara, who lost her husband in the earthquake and her children.  Now I don’t want to sound cold, but after a few days of meeting thousands of people who all had lost loved ones, I had no special place for this woman in my heart.

I tiredly plodded after the pastor as he led me to their home. Through narrow and dangerous alleys, finally we stood in the small courtyard and made introductions.

Sara reached inside her doorway and brought out this wooden triangle shaped thing.  At first I thought it was just a box, but as she turned it around, I saw the edges of a blue cushion and then a small boy strapped inside this triangle wooden chair.  The boy was her son, 6 year old Carlandy, and he had cerebral palsy.

I was so saddened because as much as I wanted to help Carlandy, there was nothing I could offer him.  I had no help for a handicapped child, and I could make no guarantees that we could help him.  The money we had collected was already committed and I had nothing left to give him.  An internal war raged in me as I left Carlandy; I felt defeated, tired, sad, depressed, angry and even a bit relieved the day was done.

Upon arriving home, I told my family and staff about what had happened.  Unbeknownst to me, someone wrote Joni Erickson Tada and asked for help.

Long story short, Joni sent us a wheelchair which we were able to deliver to Carlandy.  The cameraman on the team also helped to fund a microloan for Carlandy’s mom.  He asked his church to start a fund for Carlandy to see a special doctor who can train his mother about CP and how to best care for him.

Carlandy in his new wheelchair

As for me, I didn’t really do anything but recognize my powerlessness.  I vividly remember standing in front of Carlandy saying to myself “I cannot help this boy, I have nothing left to give.”  And to God I said; “Why did you bring me here?”  In the end, I think God wanted me to remember that this work I do isn’t about me helping anyone, at any of the projects we do at Bright Hope.  It is about God providing the help and resources.  It’s all about Him!

2 Corinthians 12:9 says,  “ My gracious favor is all you need.  My power works best in your weakness.”


About C.H. Dyer

I am the CEO of Bright Hope. I am dedicated to helping those who earn less than $1.00 a day. There are one billion people in my target market (the extreme poor) and I could use some help. I am a Christian, father of three (two are internationally adopted), entrepreneur, speaker, improving writer and amateur photographer.

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